From BitTorrent to privacy


Arnaud Legout


  • 2 ECTS

BitTorrent is the most popular peer-to-peer file replication protocol and the second most popular protocol in the Internet. It is daily used by tens of millions of users and is therefore a perfect candidate for large scale privacy attacks, whose goal is to retrieve personal information on those users.

The goal of this course, using BitTorrent as a use case, is to show that such attacks are possible on any peer-to-peer systems. In particular, we will explore design choices that make such attacks possible.

In the first part of the course, we address BitTorrent in details. We present models of BitTorrent, then we explore the core algorithms and the details of the protocol. Finally, we provide a detailed evaluation of BitTorrent. This first part provides the background to address any research problem related to BitTorrent. In the second part, we present large scale measurement techniques that can be used to perform privacy attacks in the Internet. We discuss the design principles that enable such attacks and present the initial concepts of distributed security and privacy.